Tag: global economy

Cronyism, not the Free Market, Causes Unfair Wealth Distribution

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

Cause and Consequence:

The world consists of income inequality, and some nations even greater disparity between the rich and the poor than others. In the United States, it is suggested that the wealthy have a far more significant amount of money and capital than that of the lower socioeconomic classes. For some, this is a moral issue, for others it is a legalistic issue that deserves to be addressed. I find it to be neither of these, if the contracts between the working classes and those of the wealthy were voluntary and free.

Despite this, there should be major moral and legal concern when this wealth difference is acquired through unjust cronyism. Conducted between governments and businesses or individuals, this is a way to redistribute wealth from one class to give to another through coercive means. There are many instances where we are well aware of cronyism taking place. This includes governments privileging particular companies, preventing competition, or creating strong barriers to enter the market place. This leads to coercive monopolies, which can only legally be produced with government threats.

Without a doubt, these companies should be stripped of their privileges. The restrictive governmental barriers for others to enter the market should be erased. Cronyism and other barriers restrict a market from flourishing to its fullest potential, and the outcome is greater disparity between the poor and the rich.

Thusly, the strong arm of government restriction on the market is causing unjust income inequality. On the contrary, the marketplace does not need restrictions and more regulations. As stated previously, the market, and capitalism in general, has done more to save people from poverty than any king, army, or government could possibly dream of.

Responsibility:

When governments utilize acts of cronyism, rent-seeking, labor unions, coercive monopolies, etc., the politicians, as well as they business owners, are behaving immorally. This is an act of ‘theft and threat’ by creating wealth solely for a particular group, while threatening punishment to those that dare challenge such restrictions. Additionally, it subsidizes these groups through coercive taxation on the public. An optimally flourishing market consists more of unrestricted, legally speaking, free trade, as in a laissez-faire capitalist economy.

There is a great deal of difficulty in approaching this issue of cronyism and addressing it in the US. Doing so relies on the people of the economy and politicians in Congress to act in unison to correct the relation between government and the market. For the same reasons Church and State are separate, so too should Market and State. They corrupt one another absolutely.

Without a cultural change, any violent measure to force governments and businesses to cease their cronyism would jeopardize the newly established government to subjective force by others later. A democratic republic requires peaceful engagement in civil acts within society to establish justice and equality under the law, which also ensures a large degree of freedom exists. A government, in order to maintain justice, not only needs clear and objective laws for protecting Life, Liberty, and Property. It also needs to be able to correct and prevent overreach such as cronyism.

This leaves only perspective shifts within government as a reflection of the people’s motivation through a new Enlightenment to actively make positive change towards ending cronyism. The power lies in the people’s hands to change those in power, or become those in power, and the initial resources will be up to the market to decide. If it is possible to convince Congress to abide by the Constitution, then there would not be cronyism, so this could potentially be changed immediately by Congress but it is highly unlikely they will act since many of them currently benefit from the corruption of the system.

Policies:

The first policy to propose is maintaining a unilateral form of justice and equality under the law within the US. It is an ongoing issue seen in the news and online that certain people and businesses are pardoned or exonerated of their crimes against others because of their status in society or state. The pro of this policy is that it would create more confidence in the US market, and nation as a whole, for investors and entrepreneurs around the world. When policies threaten the incentive of success, i.e. unjust high taxes for the wealthy over a certain income or even high taxes for everyone, it forces production to go to places that will benefit them the most.

The second policy to propose is to end all forms of favoritism and cronyism in the US. This would require a system overhaul of eliminating privileges, subsidies, class related protections, many business regulations and license requirements, etc. This often scares people into thinking chaos would emerge, but it can be demonstrated through the market that the market would begin to regulate itself as varying organizations and businesses that keep a watchful eye on the market will naturally sprout.

As Dr. Steve Horwitz points out, since Adam Smith and forward, “We do not need ‘regulation’ in the sense of State intervention for markets to generate socially beneficial outcomes.  And when we do attempt to ‘regulate’ them through the State, the result is a variety of undesirable unintended consequences.” The pro of such a policy is that it creates an equal platform for everyone to compete in and benefit from a free market.

The con of such a policy is that some major companies will leave or fail because they will no longer be granted favoritism or cronyism. This could have a negative impact on the economy upon the immediacy of such an act, therefore it would require a strictly scheduled progression. Without a transitional period, many people in protected industries would lose jobs and money until they find work elsewhere. Due to the precarious nature of such a drastic and positive turn towards equality under the law and preventing favoritism, and for the mistakes made by those of the past, people will understandably need a transition into a freer market.

Conclusion:

The rich are not getting richer, the poor are not getting poorer. Capitalism has helped not only those at the top, but it has surely helped most people escape abject poverty. Those that say otherwise and complain how capitalism has made the rich wealthier, should now consider how ending the greatest human social mechanism, i.e. capitalism, will help the poor.

If the wealthy have benefited drastically better than the poor, then it would behoove everyone to be a part of such a system. Viz., ending cronyism, rent-seeking, political power and regulations of labor unions, coercive monopolies, and various other regulations and license requirements in the market, etc. would benefit everyone in the long run, as tendencies towards free trade has already proven. This would also alleviate any of the governmental coercive means of income inequality, allowing for people to live and trade more freely. This is not faith in a system. Rather, this is allowing people to live and trade as they see fit, with a government that will protect those that are infringed upon, instead of favoring and benefiting a few.


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The Case for Complete Global Free Trade

By Joshua D. Glawson | United States

The debate over free trade gone on for centuries. It began in the 1700’s when world-renowned economist Adam Smith published his prolific work, Wealth of Nations. Many question whether everyone truly benefits from ‘free trade’ or whether it is better for individuals, groups, single or several nations, or the world as a whole. Of course, though there are possible issues in the argument, there is a clear economic case for free trade, despite possible losers in a free market.

According to the Cambridge dictionary, free trade is the “buying and selling of goods, without limits on the amount of goods that one country can sell to another, and without special taxes on the goods bought from a foreign country.” Free trade can also occur within a country, and this is generally known as laissez-faire. Simply put, ‘free trade’ and ‘laissez-faire’ are the free and voluntary exchanges of goods and services. There are few examples of this existing in the world for the general public, but that does not mean it is not possible. However, many still use the wording in the hope that we may move in that direction

The general standard case for ‘free trade’ held by most economists is that everyone benefits from free trade as it increases the standard of living for all. It is also stated that ‘free trade’ is good for a nation, but maybe not for every individual as there may be some losers as trade is freed. Likewise, some nations will benefit greater than others in acts of ‘free trade’. This consensus is held as an institutional norm in the economics field.

According to Dr. Robert Driskill, a professor of economics at Vanderbilt University, there are three possible problems with the economist’s basic assertion of ‘free trade’ benefiting everyone.

The first issue he provides is that the idea that every member of a nation that participates in ‘free trade’ cannot possibly benefit in that many can and do lose their jobs or money. He claims that economists rely solely on the statement that everyone in a nation benefits, yet they do not provide the evidence for such an assertion.

His second point is that economists tend to assert that when ‘free trade’ is conducted by two nations, no one in those nations is hurt but some are actually bettered because of it. When no one is hurt by ‘free trade,’ and someone actually gains, this is known as a Pareto equilibrium, primarily preached in the field of macroeconomics. Pareto improvements are continually made until equilibrium can be achieved. Conversely and realistically, he stresses that there can be and often are losers found among the trading nations, but he proposes that economists believe it is better to turn a blind eye towards the losers because it is assumed the losers will benefit from the winners either as being directly paid by the winners or benefiting from working with the winners.

The third point Driskill makes is that the general argument in favor of ‘free trade’ made by economists often suggests that the losers in ‘free trade’ are often politically organized better than the winners due to their frustrations for losses and passion to regain their losses. This assumes that the losers will be given recompense from either the winners directly or through government coercion of the winners (11). Overall, these add to the idea that economists have an area within their field in which they are no longer thinking critically (12). For Driskill, this is a major concern.

Of course, Driskill is correct in that there have been losers in everything even close to ‘free trade.’ There have been losers in all realms of trade, especially so under anything closer to a socialistic or communistic economy. The very nature of mankind produces winners and losers whether it is of an individual’s own volition, the loss to competition, limited resources, subjugation by others, disease, laziness, others working harder, newer technology, lower costs, better quality, popularity, customer experience, location, etc. The list goes on and on that explains the various possibilities of winners and losers in the marketplace.

Historically speaking, an example of losers in the market of ‘free trade’ would be the automotive industry in the US which had experienced losers when trade with Japan had increased and US auto workers began losing their jobs. Another example is in textiles, when the US began more ‘free trade’ with the Asian market allowing for lower cost labor and products, driving out the US factories and creating losers in the deal. However, Driskill does not address many of these concerns directly, his supposed primary purpose is to better the arguments in support of ‘free trade’ (4).

When policymakers and politicians use the wording in support of ‘free trade,’ they tend to use the justification that it is “for the good of the nation.” From a macroeconomics perspective, Driskill is correct to point out that such a justification turns its face from the actual losers in such a policy (6). Where Driskill is not accurate is that he seems to think of the economy as groups of people acting in ‘free trade,’ when in fact all human action is conducted by the individual. The moral justification of ‘free trade’ is that only individuals can act morally, to suggest that groups are to act “morally” fallaciously anthropomorphizes the collective.

Sure, people do collectively come together to act, but it is only at the credit and discretion of every individual within that collective is a group made. When group decisions are made, it is only the decision of each of the individuals within that group and their acceptance of that group’s standards and practices that actions are taken. Without the support of those within the group, the group does not exist or have authority. Equally, within a marketplace of ‘free trade,’ where it is the free and voluntary action of two parties, trades will only be made if they mutually benefit.

Through the subjectivity of the individual, if one were to buy an apple, for instance, the sacrificial price must be worth the apple’s purchase or it will not be made. If one is a seller, the amount received must be worth the loss of the apple. Throughout this trade, no other individual has any say as to the exchange, unless the apple or money was stolen from someone else. This, in essence, is ‘free trade.’ For the other people who were also on the market to sell apples, it was the decision of the individual purchasing as to which seller from which she would buy.

The “loss” the other sellers accrued through this decision making process is the price of business and the sacrifice we accept in the market place as opposed to reverting back to a state of nature or autarky. The potential gains for the individual in a marketplace conducting ‘free trade’ is greater than the risks of losses involved; the actual gains for the vast majority of people is equally greater than the risks involved in ‘free trade.’

The initiation of going into the marketplace was a purchase of its own. The amount it took to be able to sell was worth the losses the individuals would incur, or they would not have gone into the marketplace of ‘free trade.’ If they did and they were not successful in that venture, they would likely leave that business venture behind to work for others who are successful.

Seemingly, this is the self-correction and improvement that happens naturally in the market as a means to better each individual as they act, even if that betterment means to decide not to trade with certain people making losers through that process. An actual moral issue is when a market is forced or coerced to trade in certain ways outside of the free and voluntary actions of individuals through protectionism. Viz., any losses an individual or company have because of being in trade, is not a moral issue at all. It is often the case that governments, especially within the US and Europe, that the idea of ‘protectionism’ is sold to the people with the sacrificed payment of ‘Liberty.’ The returns are often negligible.

When protectionism and cronyism control markets, and a government reneges on that agreement making losers in the market, this is not a moral issue in that again governments cannot act morally, and the wrong was the initial phase of creating favoritism and conducting in acts of cronyism. The place of the US government, and the contract of the US Constitution, was to act as protector of Life, Liberty, and Property, not to decide the arbitrary place of the market saving particular people, groups, or industries from becoming marketplace losers. When politicians do vote to protect these various entities in the marketplace of ‘free trade,’ it is both no longer ‘free’ and surely the immoral act of that individual voting to decide who the winners and losers should be on the dollar of other tax payers while falsely propagating the market.

If there were a transition to a more general or true ‘free market,’ there would be a plethora of industries that would have losses and losers throughout the global economy, especially within the US. This would be far superior to what we currently have in the US, in that losses could be seen and dealt with by actual measurements of ‘free trade’ and market adjustments. It is through losses that individuals are able to correct their behavior for the better, and to restrict the market from truthfully correcting itself, creates a false front of success that can come toppling at any point, making more losers than winners in the long run.

When a market is able to correct itself, smaller pockets of justifiable losers are still created rather than vast numbers of giant conglomerates and industries. The world is not perfect, there will always be losers in trade, whether free or not. At least allow individuals to act morally and conduct ‘free trade,’ and there will surely be more winners in the long run.


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The Economic Myths Upholding Trump’s Tariffs

By Isaiah Minter | United States

In recent weeks, President Trump has angered a significant portion of his base with his remarks on gun control. Since his calls to raise the gun-buying age to 21 and confiscate guns without due process, Trump, in an attempt to quell the anger of his base, has called for steep tariffs on aluminum and steel.

While I have covered Trump’s ignorance on trade in the past, the following piece will be a more accessible re-edition that deals with his more recent tweets and statements. In addressing such trade statements, I will dispose of many of the economic myths put forward by the Trump team, demonstrating why protectionism and tariffs are not the way forward for promoting American prosperity and global peace. So without further ado, here are the facts.

Trump and Manufacturing

Last Thursday, Trump began his assault on free trade by tweeting about the state of American industries:

Our Steel and Aluminum industries (and many others) have been decimated by decades of unfair trade and bad policy with countries from around the world. We must not let our country, companies, and workers be taken advantage of any longer. We want free, fair and SMART TRADE!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2018

Here is why the Donald is wrong.

US manufacturing jobs 2

While it is true that American manufacturing has seen a decline in employment over the decades, manufacturing employment levels mimic those of 1941. Today, some 12.4 Americans work in manufacturing, with less than 150,000 workers employed in steel production. So while American manufacturing employs a smaller portion of the American labor force, there is little reason to suspect it is in danger.

Even with this decline in employment, American manufacturing is thriving. With 1941 employment levels, American manufacturing is producing nearly 50 percent more than 20 years ago. In other words, the manufacturing industry is producing more with a smaller share of workers. Why this is an evil, the Trump trade team never explains.

Similarly, American steel is performing well. In 2016, the steel industry boomed due to an increase in car sales. Last year, U.S. steel production rose by 5%, with U.S. Steel going from a $250 million loss in 2016 to a $341 million profit in 2017. Similarly, Nucor Corporation has seen strong increases in net earnings and value, reporting a net profit increase of 65% over 2016, and a stock price increase of $53 over the last 18 years.

American manufacturing is going through the same trend that American agriculture once endured, and for the same reason: technological advancement.

Image result for american agricultural output and employment

In 1800, 83% of the American labor force was employed in agriculture. By 2008, that figure was less than 2%. And yet, agricultural output is at an all-time high. From robots milking cows to GPS guidance calculating the most energy-efficient way of performing various farm tasks, technology has loosened the burden on the farmer, provided clear environmental benefits, and allowed a growing American population to be fed.

It is true that technology has displaced American workers, just as technology displaced American farmers in the past. But these workers do not remain permanently displaced. On the contrary, we have a social safety net for this very reason. Further, in any dynamic market economy, industries are continuously faced with turmoil to this degree. The agricultural industry endured the storm and is now more productive than ever.

Comparably, the manufacturing industry is already in the storm. One study done by two Ball State University professors found that nearly 87% of the decline in manufacturing employment from 2000 to 2010 resulted from an increase in factory efficiency. No amount of protectionist policy is going to reverse this trend.

In this respect, Trump is not preserving a dying manufacturing industry, for it doesn’t exist. Rather, he is spouting economic ignorance and attempting to stifle a prosperous manufacturing industry.

Trump and Trade Deficits

Shortly after Trump’s tweet on the supposed decline of American manufacturing, he slammed trade deficits in two tweets:

When a country (USA) is losing many billions of dollars on trade with virtually every country it does business with, trade wars are good, and easy to win. Example, when we are down $100 billion with a certain country and they get cute, don’t trade anymore-we win big. It’s easy!

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 2, 2018

The United States has an $800 Billion Dollar Yearly Trade Deficit because of our “very stupid” trade deals and policies. Our jobs and wealth are being given to other countries that have taken advantage of us for years. They laugh at what fools our leaders have been. No more!

– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 3, 2018

By now, it’s safe to say that Trump doesn’t understand trade at all. A trade deficit occurs when a country imports more goods than it exports. This does not signal any sort of exploitation of American consumers by foreign nations.

In 2015, America had trade deficits of $69 billion with Japan and $366 billion with China. Neither of these nations sits on their American dollars and laugh at the stupidity of American consumers. Rather, they invest it back into the American economy. The simple fact is, with a popular reserve currency, secure assets, and strong markets, America is a successful investment location. America receives nearly $4.4 trillion in foreign investment every year, and yet no one claims we have been hurt by that.

But I want to get to Trump’s central theme, that in order for someone to win in the marketplace another must lose. The notion could not be more disconnected from reality.

As a clear example, Trump has a deficit with his grocery store. He buys more from the grocery store than the grocery store buys from him. I have a deficit with my barber, I buy more from him than he buys from me. Neither scenario implies any exploitation. Trade is no different, it is two parties coming together to engage in a voluntary and reciprocal exchange. Why the latter is frowned upon by the Trump trade team, but not the former, is troubling.

American consumers playing German pianos, driving Japanese cars, and drinking Brazilian coffee do not consider themselves victims of foreign exploitation. It’s time the Trump team followed suit.

Trump and Tariffs

Clearly, Trump has no understanding of the state of American manufacturing, or even how trade operates, whether inside or across borders. It should then not surprise anyone that Trump has no understanding of the effects of tariffs.

The most disastrous tariff in American history, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930, taxed over 3,000 imported items with a steep increase on 887 of them. The results were destructive: exports dropped by $4.5 billion by 1932, unemployment increased by 16 percent by 1931, and American car sales plummeted by more than 3.5 million by 1932. More than 40 percent of all banks closed, and real income fell by nearly a third. The enactment of retaliatory tariffs by European nations only worsened the problem. For all of Trump’s talk on winning trade wars, it remains unclear how a contraction in American trade and a steep decline in American prosperity can be considered winning.

Smaller tariffs have been pursued in the decades since the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. In 2002, Bush placed an import tax on steel.

With increased steel prices, more workers in steel-consuming industries lost their jobs than the total number of workers in the steel industry.

Similarly, President Obama enacted a tariff on Chinese tires in a quest to promote fair trade. In the end, 1200 jobs were saved at a cost of $1.1 billion, or nearly $1 million per job.

In promoting steel tariffs, Trump never seems to cite any benefit achieved by his 30% tariffs on solar panels. Nor should we expect him to, for the tariffs offered little benefit. SunPower canceled a $20 million investment in an American factory, depriving the American people of hundreds of new jobs. Similarly, one projection estimates that the solar panel tariffs would cancel 23,000 installation jobs and billions of dollars in clean energy investment.

Even outside of hard evidence, Trump’s policy proposal is illogical. With a tariff placed on steel, the price of steel is raised. Since most steel-consuming industries import their raw materials, tariffs serve to increase their costs of manufacturing. In this sense, steel tariffs are likely to kill jobs from the very manufacturing industry that Trump is concerned about.

If the claim is that American industries cannot compete with foreign companies, it makes little sense to pass higher prices onto American consumers and American companies. Higher prices mean less demand, which in turn can lead to smaller profit margins. Combining this with higher manufacturing costs is a recipe for consumer despair and business collapse.

Similarly, it makes little sense to benefit a small group at the expense of a large group. The ratio of Americans employed in steel-consuming industries compared to those in steel-producing industries is forty-five to one. Saving one job at the expense of forty-five, without even factoring in costs to the American taxpayer, is ignorant policy.

Ultimately, Trump doesn’t understand American manufacturing, he doesn’t understand the basics of trade, and he doesn’t understand the effects of the tariffs he is enacting. Stop pardoning his protectionist ignorance because he’s a billionaire businessman that gets things done.

Trump Ends His Glory Streak

By Mason Mohon | USA

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

The Donald had been looking up for me, to be honest. As a radical libertarian, I am always hesitant to put my support behind any president, but the man almost swayed me. Almost.

During the election cycle, I was hard-set against Mr. Trump mostly for his protectionist trade outlook. It was a call-back to the Republicans of old: promote business in the U.S. by removing regulations (yay) but also increasing tariffs (boo!).

On inauguration day, I walked away from the Washington Mall fuming with disappointment and anger that I just saw the new president give a speech focused on promoting the American worker and “bringing jobs back” to the United States. Protectionist rhetoric of this sort always tends to set off the alarms in my Hazlitt-filled mind, so it was understandable that I felt this way.

To my surprise, though, he didn’t seem to carry out very publicly any of these grand promises. On the other hand, his first week was filled with executive orders, some nasty and authoritarian, but some glorious, particularly his order that every new regulation put in place would need to repeal two existing ones. While this doesn’t make much sense as an actual policy action (regulation was barely defined), it did set a precedent for what the Trump presidency was going to look like.

At that point, though, I was still extremely hesitant.

Then nearly a year later the tax cuts came around. The Republicans had seemingly proven themselves to be incompetent when it came to repealing Obamacare, but they cut taxes with flying colors. That is, flying colors as compared to their regular uselessness.

I thought to myself: “Man, that is pretty awesome. Taxes are hella theft, so thank god these are going down.” I began to budge. Trump had taken a pretty positive stance in my view, but this all changed very quickly.

I looked at my phone yesterday only to see a news notification that Trump is putting a 30% tariff on solar cells and washing machines.

Well heck.

Obviously, his intention is to save jobs in the U.S., particularly those in manufacturing. This fallacious reasoning has been debunked many times over – these jobs are outsourced to foreign nations because it is cheaper to make them there. If they are cheaper to make there, they will be cheaper to buy here, meaning that real wages will go up. If they are built here, they are more expensive because of wage and labor laws, in addition to an evolving workforce. Real wages are driven down, and U.S. citizens have less wealth to spend on other things that will boost the economy.

To add insult to injury, this isn’t even going to work. The Guardian reported that this tariff will cost the United States jobs, not give it more. Our real wages are going down, we have fewer jobs, less wealth is able to be used, and we lose out on a valuable source of energy.

Whoop dee doo.

Donald Trump is an immensely successful businessman and a charismatic speaker, two things I admire a lot. He is not an intellectual nor an economist, though, which is showing through in his actions.

There are still three years left, though, which means that there is time to make up for this blunder. Whether or not that will happen is not something that I know.

The Necessity of Japanese Nationalism for Global Peace

By Ryan Love | USA

Nationalism is the new black. And in the Land of the Rising Sun a necessary resurgence is occurring. Growing threats from North Korea and China, as well as historical tensions with Russia, have led Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to declare that threats to Japan are at their highest since WWII. With nuclear powers surrounding Japan absent the US-Japanese military alliance Japan could be wiped off the map at worst, and at best become a secondary power in an East Asia rising in prominence. The reason behind these threats is simple: Article 9 of the Japanese constitution. The article that prohibits the re-militarization of Japan. Without a strong military, accompanied by nuclear weapons, Japan will likely continue to be threatened by its neighbors.

The Liberal Democratic Party, the party firmly in control of the Japanese Diet, knows all of this. And yet over 70 years of pacifism has rendered the necessary political capital to fund these changes lacking. The most recent poll conducted in Japan holds support of the current constitution at around 55%. And yet Japanese nationalism is on the rise. Nippon Kaigi, the predominant establishment nationalist movement in Japan has members at all levels of government, and frequently in the majority. At over 38,000 members strong Nippon Kaigi has worked successfully to revise history textbooks to omit alleged war crimes and push for reform to allow for the re-militarization of Japan. A demilitarized Japan only serves to allow for further destabilization in East Asia. Particularly because countries like China and both Korea’s harbor malice toward the now-defunct Japanese Empire. As these countries, particularly China and North Korea, continue to expand their military actions only a revitalized Japanese military can prevent these transgressions.

A militarized Japan is one that prevents North Korean missile launches and Chinese expansion into the East and South East China Sea. It also ensures that America has a military ally capable of holding its own if conflicts arise in the future. And make no mistake the risk of conflict in the status quo is exceptionally high. Ask yourself, if Japan was a nuclear power would North Korea continue to shoot missiles into the Sea of Japan? Would China continually infringe upon American interests in East Asia? The answer is no. A strong Japan helps to strengthen the United States. And a self-sufficient Japan, militarily, ensures that the United States doesn’t have to bear such a financial burden for Japanese security, without losing influence in East Asia. Recent estimates from the Council on Foreign Relations put the risk of war at over 40%. The United States needs strong allies in the event of a conflict. Absent a re-militarized Japan the United States sits in a difficult situation, particularly if a conflict involving any combination of China, North Korea, or Russia arises.

Like Americans, the Japanese love their country. And they desire strongly to be able to defend their homeland. 2018 has brought about significant geopolitical threats both for the United States and for one of its closest allies Japan. A restoration of the Emperor to his divine status, as well as a revitalized Japanese military, will display to Japan’s enemies, who are also America’s enemies, that further transgressions must end. Japan should not be ashamed of its history and its culture. Particularly when such shame fuels and allows its enemies to mobilize against it. To war monger would be pessimistic, but with rising threats, it is important that America, and our allies, are at their strongest.